Camilo de Mendoza likes to talk music and tell his customers why the golden age of vinyl is making a comeback. It’s not just that the LP has a superior sound to a CD or Mp3 file, but it also looks better. It’s visually cool, and in an age of music aficionados and up and coming DJs, the look is as important as the listening.
Hence, in the center of his elegant new store, Tornamesa, in the Avenida Chile shopping complex, de Mendoza has set up a state-of-the-art station where you can grab a seat, put on some headphones and listen to many of the imported LPs and CDs this entrepreneur has assembled painstakingly over the years. “Owning my own music store has been a dream come true,” says Camilo as he artfully shows me around.
Many of the LPs in stock are classic rock albums – Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin to name to a few – but there is an excellent jazz selection as well, and you’ll be hard pressed to find in some of Bogotá’s other music stores a selection like the one de Mendoza has on offer. An ample Opera collection of boxed sets and many classical titles of rare recordings are also stocked in his store.
Camilo is an expert on Colombian music, having worked for many years as Music Director for Javeriana Radio and alongside Gonzalo Rueda Caro at the legendary classic music station HJCK. Although he is passionate about jazz, de Mendoza understands that it can be an acquired taste for many who stroll in to take a look around and he is more than obliging in trying to explain why one recording outshines another.
Art films by Almodovar, Woody Allen and Kubrick rest next to world music records at Tornamesa. In the Colombia section you can listen to the local label NMC (Nuevas Musicas Colombianas) to which de Mendoza contributes as an editor and consultant. With titles such as Salsa D.C., Jazz Colombia and Andes Colombianos, these CDs make great gifts for those interested in contemporary sounds by bands such as ChocQuibTown, Bomba Estereo or La 33.
Tornamesa has a large selection of books: from coffee table tomes on art history to traveler’s guides. There is also an extensive selection of Spanish-language literature and specialty hardcover books covering everything from Architecture to cooking and wines: a veritable A to Z of interesting titles that are as carefully chosen as de Mendoza’s CDs, LPs and wines. Wines in a bookstore? At Tornamesa, yes.
The record store offers a wide range of handpicked wines, with the largest offering from Argentina and Chile. Many of the wines are new to the rack as Camilo deals directly with specialty importers and wine clubs.
Mendoza likes his clients to feel indulged whether they are audiophiles, bookworms or wine lovers. And taking care of the “senses” can be a sensational outing on a Saturday without having to gouge into the wallet.